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Peptic Ulcers and H. Pylori

An Ulcer is a sore in the stomach or duodenum (beginning of small intestine) that is caused by a bacteria call H. Pylori. Many people have this but do not get ulcers.

Symptoms

Some people may not have any symptoms or may experience very mild symptoms.

  • Discomfort in the abdomen - A dull ache in your belly, ache comes and goes, ache comes 2-3 hours after eating, ache comes in the middle of the night, ache goes away when you eat, ache goes away when you take an antacid like Tums
  • Weight loss
  • You don’t feel like eating
  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Causes

Causes of Ulcers may include:

  • H. Pylori bacteria
  • Using aspirin or ibuprofen for a long time
  • Stress, alcohol, or spicy foods do NOT cause ulcers but can make them worse.

Diagnosing H. Pylori

H. Pylori can be diagnosed through a breath test, blood test, stool test and/or a tissue sample when an upper endoscopy is done.

Treatment

Treatment options include:

  • A prescription for drugs that will kill the bacteria and reduce acid in the stomach. After treatment, a stool test will be ordered to make sure the bacteria is gone.
  • If the ulcer is caused by aspirin or ibuprofen , you will be asked to stop taking these medicines.

Emergency Symptoms

Call your doctor or go to the Emergency Room if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Sudden, severe stomach pain
  • Vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Bloody or black bowel movements